In long haul flights, if I get a seat and after take off I found out that entertainment system is not working, I asked a flight attendant to change my seat but she apologized because there are no empty seats to move to.

Is it common to ask for a compensation for such an inconvenience? do major airlines compensate you in such cases?

  • Thomas Cook flight, Manchester - Orlando, we were informed that some seats had a malfunctioning entertainment system so they handed out an "apology letter" to all passengers and offered a complimentary drink on board due to the "inconvenience caused". Also, this issue caused a 45 min departure delay, but at least all passengers were compensated (including those that their system was working fine).
    – ilakast
    Jun 9 '14 at 14:44

Major carriers will do, but only if you submit a complaint to request it, they almost never pro-actively offer it. In addition, compensation is normally offered in Frequent Flyer points. Once you get home, submit a request to the airline's customer services, which you can normally do online.

If you want to know what's typical, search through FlyerTalk for threads like "IFE Not Working" for your chosen airline and see what comes up. Here's one for BA and one for AirFrance to get your started.

(If you're not on a full flight, you can sometimes get an on-board upgrade if your IFE is broken, and there's space further up front. You won't get compensation in that case, but you will get a nicer seat for part of the flight!)


While they almost certainly won't give you compensation, if you write a polite letter explaining how you were really looking forward to the flight, how you're a frequent flyer member (mention your number), and how you love that airline, and were really disappointed that you couldn't enjoy your flight as you had no entertainment and had to sit bored for the duration of the flight. Mention the staff tried to help, but to no avail.

Then ask if there's something they can do to help with this, given that you're a frequent flyer member.

Odds are good that they'll suggest some points for you. It likely won't be many, and you may just get an apology. But hey, anything's better than nothing.

Note: If you're not a frequent flyer member and it's really bad, sometimes they'll offer flight credit (a $50 voucher or something), but given that's about what I got from Air France when they kept me from my heart medicine overnight, it's debatable how much each airline gives. (In hindsight, I should have kicked up a fuss, but I was new to international travel back then).

  • About the heart medicine bit, if you don't mind me asking, weren't you able to bring it on board with your carry-on?
    – Meta747
    Nov 14 '16 at 13:54
  • 1
    @mazeem complicated. It was meant to be a simple flight to LON, but we got stuck in Paris, so even if I'd lost my bag I assumed I'd be in London where I could get my meds at home. So I asked for my luggage, they said no access until the next day, I explained the heart meds, and they still said no. I got quite sick overnight.
    – Mark Mayo
    Nov 15 '16 at 4:09

I've never even thought about asking for compensation, but this article about things you should complain to the airline about says that compensation may be due. A $100 voucher is mentioned, which doesn't sound too bad to me! I'm sure it depends on the situation (and airline!), but it definitely sounds possible.

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